Planning for a Better Future

At Bikes Make Life Better, we’re all about how to get more folks on bikes, and this is done in a variety of ways. Sometimes this means we develop incentive programs to motivate people to try biking. In other cases, we design top notch parking facilities, so cyclists have a comfortable and secure place to land when they bike to the office. And we’ve found that in recent years, more and more clients are asking us to provide bike planning services.

Planning can often be an abstract idea, but it plays a vital role in the quest to “get more butts on bikes”. So, what does bike planning mean, and what does it look like? We’ll walk you through definitions and some concrete examples below.

Bike planning is a subset of transportation planning, which falls under the umbrella of urban planning. Generally speaking, urban planning is a large field that reaches across the spectrum of civic life, but in short, it forms the bedrock of how we change our communities to be safer, more vibrant, and sustainable. When we talk about planning at Bikes Make Life Better, we focus on how to improve the physical environment to make it safe and convenient for people to commute by bike from home and move around by bike throughout the day. We do this by using various tools and concepts to analyze a designated area. Here are a few of the main ways we go about our bike planning work.

Circulation Plan

We work with a lot of clients who have large contingents of employees concentrated in a multi-building campus setting. These campuses can act like small cities where they need to juggle several types of transportation uses, including commuters, deliveries, maintenance, and intercampus trips. In many cases, these campuses have been around for a while and were not necessarily built for bikes. It is our job to analyze the physical landscape and recommend ways to improve the environment so any employee on a bike can ride safely and efficiently. In practice, we look at access points; conflict zones; and routes through a campus (or across multiple campuses) and recommend bike-friendly improvements.

Bicycle Network Analysis


A Bicycle Network Analysis (or BNA for short) is a similar concept to the Circulation Plan, but looks outside of the campus and into the public right of way (i.e. streets). A BNA is vital to understand how easy, hard, and/or safe it is for your employees to travel to and from their homes to the office. In other words, you can have the most state-of-the-art parking facilities and fantastic infrastructure for bikes within your campus, but if the environment outside is unsafe for bikes, then that drastically diminishes the value of your campus amenities. Using analysis tools, we look at the existing bike network (usually within a few miles around campus) and identify what can be updated to improve commuting for cyclists. Often we find a handful of key gaps that, if fixed, would improve the commute experience for the majority of bike commuters–not to mention motivate future bike commuters who were too apprehensive to bike to work based on the current network conditions.

Bike Share Feasibility Study

We have found that many corporate campuses (and some large mixed-use developments) require their employees to move around campus throughout the day. When the buildings are too far apart to walk, the solution is often to take a slow circulator shuttle, or even worse, drive a car. Campus bike share is the perfect remedy for this. It’s fast, efficient, and fun, and allows employees to easily step out of their building, hop on a bike, and take it right up to the entrance of their destination.

Preparing your campus for bike share is a multi-step process that starts with us analyzing the campus to understand the most appropriate bike share system for the situation. Then we call on our extensive knowledge of the bike share industry to assemble the most appropriate vendors that would best serve your needs. Sometimes these processes branch out to other exciting new micromobility modes, like scooters! We pride ourselves on being the micromobility experts and have a lot of fun figuring out which “little vehicles” will work best for our clients.

Infrastructure Recommendations

We are often brought on to a development project in the design phase to help ensure that it is bike-friendly starting on day one of business. This includes designing bike parking facilities and other amenities (showers, lockers, etc.). When consulting on larger development projects, the plans incorporate designing the street network. This is a great opportunity to offer our expertise in recommending the best types of on-street infrastructure to accommodate bikes. We love when clients involve us in the early stages of developments, especially because it is far easier (and cheaper) to change lines of a plan, then to go in later and dig up the concrete!

Need help with bike planning for your project? Bikes Make Life Better is dedicated to helping large organizations use bikes for healthy sustainable transportation. They’ve helped with bike planning and design for Facebook, Salesforce, Airbnb, Stripe, Pembroke Real Estate, LinkedIn and many others.